Wiktionary:Requests for verification archive/October 2005

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Archived discussions from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

October 2005[edit]


Found the print citation: "... end zet you know hiss eddress ... Shortly, he iss master spy?'" but that does not seem to match this usage. --Connel MacKenzie 20:03, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Added three independent citations conveying the meaning (one from a sci-fi book, one from a book on writing screenplays, one from a dictionary of college slang) from Google Print, spanning four years from 2000 to 2004 (tho it's likely the word is older and still in use). —Muke Tever 06:53, 9 October 2005 (UTC)


Imported from WT:RFD:

If people want to keep it, it needs to be decapitalized. 12:09, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

I decapitalized it already. It appears to have one cite, in a title, which could use verification. (Needs wikified too.) —Muke Tever 01:08, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Added three quotations (2001–2005) out of Google Print, and verified the episode title from an online episode guide to be from 2000. It's possible (likely?) that the word appears in the episode itself and could be cited as well. Cleaned up the article some too. —Muke Tever 06:35, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Isn't it just a spelling variation of frienemy ? SemperBlotto 07:40, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Web Google hits don't support any being the 'better' form - frienemy singular is more common, but frenemies plural prevails; frenemy/frenemies is more common in Google print. Just as likely frienemy is a spelling variation of this. :p Presumably both receive entries under en.wikt practice, like ax and axe. —Muke Tever 23:58, 10 October 2005 (UTC)


[Posted to rfv 8 October by User:Citizen Premier.]

I'm sure we can find this used deliberately in published sources for effect (like some authors use 'could of' in conversation to indicate the speaker's education level, even when the pronunciation would be the same). But! We'll hafta find those citations. —Muke Tever 05:26, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Added some print cites. One a student paper included in a book; one on its own in fiction, but from a POD publisher so I'm not sure whether it's a stylistic choice or just if the author has nonstandard spelling that didn't get editored; and another in a book quoting a patient's writing (with 'a lot' spelled as two words outside the quotation elsewhere on the page). —Muke Tever 03:19, 11 October 2005 (UTC)


[Added 10 October by User:Connel MacKenzie with the note: (could be legit, archaic?).]

It's in Webster 1913. Tho I don't think it's been in common use lately; we might hafta go to older sources for citations. —Muke Tever 04:59, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

  • This is fine - I had actually heard of it. (71 entries in print.google) I have removed the tag, if that's OK. SemperBlotto 22:00, 11 October 2005 (UTC)


[rfv added to the English sense by User:Connel MacKenzie 10 October.]

I've heard of this one. It's not in US use though; I forget whether it was used by Australians, Britlanders, or both. —Muke Tever 02:58, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

This one shouldn't be hard to hunt up. E.g., Private Eye. I'll have a go. -dmh 03:03, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Still on it ... unfortunately, as we note, it's also Dutch for "two". Here's a good example: "Their demeanour and token twee reticence have inspired a small generation of fey indie kids to fill their diet with lollypops and warble about the girl they almost copped off with at the last school disco." However, it's on www.twee.net, so the skeptic could think it's another protologism. -dmh 03:07, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Now done and dusted -dmh 03:24, 12 October 2005 (UTC)


Moved from rfd. Eclecticology 09:40, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

While I no longer refuse on principle to document this one, I'd think that there should be some reasonable limit on what we bring in here. According to the discussion impored from RFD, this term recently produced around 6,000,000 google hits. It now produces more than 8,000,000, dealing with how to host a webinar, what is a webinar, etc., along with notices of particular webinars and who knows what else. I would say this meets any reasonable definition of "widespread use". Shall we consider this verified, or is there some use in picking three quotations?
Interestingly, Google print only turns up 79 hits from about 20 books. Evidently usage is still propagating rapidly. In any case, if we want to document that the term is showing up in print, we can do that too, though it's not really what CFI requires. -dmh 03:36, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
This reminds me, btw, of a bit on WT:CFI about pages being "durably archived" on Google. I know it's the case that after a page has been down awhile it no longer appears in search results — does the cache still remain after that? I think if a durable archive is to be suggested it should probably be the Wayback Machine. —Muke Tever 04:57, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Ah. There's Google and then there's Google. Web pages from the "Web" search are cached, but to my knowledge, Google doesn't durably archive them (though they might be archived elsewhere for other reasons). Google did, however, commit some time ago to durably archiving Usenet groups, so you can consider a link to a Google Groups message durable. Similarly, it has stated its intention to durably archive blogs. We should double-check this, but my understanding is that links to blogs found through Google Blogs can therefore be considered durable. Google Print may not itself be archived, but of course the physical books it refers to are, or at least anything under US copyright can be found in the Library of Congress if need be, and I'm sure there are similar policies in other countries.
The priority order for googling should probably be
  • Google Print
  • Google Groups and Blogs
  • Google Web as a last resort.
In some cases it's useful to know whether print dictionaries mention a term, but these are secondary sources. We're looking for primary sources, that is meaning-conveying uses in actual speech/writing. It occurs to me that several of the issues concerning verifiability and use vs. mention stem from the distinction between primary and secondary sources. I sketched this recently on Wiktionary:Wiktionary is a secondary source. I think what I have there is basically correct, though it could certainly stand some refinement. In particular, it explains why we shouldn't include protologisms in the main body, and why we shouldn't refer to or include definitions from other dictionaries, even if they're out of copyright. -dmh 15:27, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
If the only attestation you can find for a term is through the google web search — a decreasingly likely prospect — then the article is still worth keeping, but it should stay here indefinitely in hopes of better citations. In such a case, copy the citations and provide as much information as possible as to the original source, including the original URL. At least that's my opinion. From what I can tell there is still a debate to be had here. I'll make every effort to keep my end of it civil.
As to the case in point with webinar, I'm making the reasonable assumption that if there are 8,000,000 hits today, the number of meaningful hits will be non-zero indefinitely (and the number of hits in print will increase). -dmh 15:27, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Just a quick reminder that I posted this word in the first place because I received a brochure in the mail from my university inviting me to attend a webinar. I'd have kept it if I'd known it would come in handy later! BD2412 04:07, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Added a few quotes from Google Print. Also, I noticed that many (but not all) of the mid-sentence hits were capitalized, presumably because the World Wide Web, like the Internet, is a proper noun. Added a note of that under alternative forms. —Muke Tever 08:05, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


Moved from rfd. Eclecticology 16:30, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Added three quotes from Google Print. —Muke Tever 08:27, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Muke. That's good enough for me now. Keep. — Hippietrail 15:57, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


A discussion has arisen on #wiktionary (irc.freenode.net) IRC channel about the homicide entry. As noted, the third definition is in dispute. My feeling is that meaning doesn't exist, and i'd like someone to show that it does.

Muke cites: [1]

Please comment – Fudoreaper 07:15, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

This looks like a fairly normal mentonymy (or synechdoche, or whatever it is). The chain appears to be
  • Homicide, the act -->
  • A case of homicide under investigation ("It looks like we've got a homicide here") -->
  • The victim of the homicide ("She was a homicide.") (cf. ("She was a suicide")).
There seems to have been something of a shift in usage as to which party stands in for the act itself. In more formal usage, a "-cide" is the person committing the act. E.g., a filicide is someone who has killed one's own child, not the child killed. If I had to guess, I'd say the link between the two usuages comes by way of "suicide", where the two parties are the same. The two formulations "her death was a suicide" and "she was a suicide" are largely interchangeable, and since this usage is both ambiguous and much more common than "she was a ...cide" meaning she did the killing, it's no great leap from "her death was a homicide" to "she was a homicide" meaning she was killed. This sort of re-analysis through an ambigous case appears to be a basic engine of linguistic change. Occasionally it is noticed and the re-analysis deemed "incorrect", but my guess is it goes largely unnoticed in most cases.
At this point, the third sense is what you'd hear on a TV crime drama, while the second sense is more formal or (dare I say?) dated. -dmh 14:47, 14 October 2005 (UTC) 14:26, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
... By which I mean, if you hear that a person is a homicide on TV, it will likely mean that the person was killed, not the killer. It appears that homicide is rarely applied to persons at all. Usually it refers to the death, or the investigation of the death, etc. Nonetheless, here's another usage in print:

"It's just a hunch, that the person who killed him could also have killed her." She paused, perhaps for effect. "Um, the young man was found with her."

Zinck was silent or a moment. The thin gray man they were seeking in the Novinsky case could not be described as young. "Ms. Cooper, we like to have a little more evidence before we jump to conclusions. We don't even know the woman was a homicide. Didn't they say it was possible they both jumped?" — Ellen Perry Berkeley, Keith's People ISBN 1930859449, © 2003 p. 58

I.e., we don't know that the woman was killed by someone else. She might have killed herself. -dmh 14:41, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Here's another (that should be three now):

The medical examiner was behind on autopsies and cranky, so we didn't even know if the old guy in the pool was a homicide. — Jon Talton, Dry Heat: A David Mapstone Mystery ISBN 0312333854 © 2004 p. 40

-dmh 14:48, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Added these cites to the page. Marked it as police jargon, since that's how it most often seems to be used, particularly on TV; I wouldn't expect to see it elsewhere [yet]. —Muke Tever 21:51, 16 October 2005 (UTC)


[Added to RFV 16 October by User:Connel MacKenzie.]

Not getting any google hits in this sense; with the unwieldy etymology, looks strongly like a protologism. —Muke Tever 07:08, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

  • Probably a joke, but added to list of protologisms and deleted for now. SemperBlotto 07:38, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

au fait[edit]

[Added to RFV by User:Connel MacKenzie 15 October.]

Easily done. I've gone ahead and removed the rfv on this one. -dmh 20:32, 18 October 2005 (UTC)


[Added to RFV 14 October by User:Connel MacKenzie, who also marked it as 'Middle English'.]

I don't know about Middle English, but this word is in Webster 1913 (who cites Shakespeare), the AHD, and m-w.com. Cites should be easy, (unless we'd like to "speedy-verify" this word like pistoleer) ? —Muke Tever 08:18, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

I added two modern English quotes (including Henry IV Part I) and changed the language to English. -dmh 21:51, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I've added a third quote and taken the liberty of removing the rfv. I'm assuming that that's alright if there are three good quotes in print, but I'll stop if people think it's not OK. -dmh 12:31, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I have no objections at all; in fact, I think that the auto-removing "rfv" is probably a better method than letting en entry linger in a disputed state. --Connel MacKenzie 13:28, 19 October 2005 (UTC)


Supposed to mean crazy in German. But it seems to mean moved. SemperBlotto 09:03, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

I think it means both. It wouldn't be the first time a colloquial usage has diverged from the simple literal sense (e.g., "touched" for crazy in English). This is a perfect case for RFV, though. Let's see if we can chase it down. -dmh 14:19, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I found it on New English German Dictionary - an order of magnitude better than Google translate! Updated (rfv was already removed) SemperBlotto|Talk 14:44, 20 October 2005 (UTC)


Language is something that needs to evolve and needs to stay intersting. I suppose double abbreviations are ultimately incorrect, but I maintain that they are a somewhat a grey area.

Also, the word 'wasn't's' appear in a song that's on an album n a major record lable. It's been released world wide and heard by thousands of people. If the word is therefore known by a lot of people, surely it merits a mention in Wikipedia.

I find Colnel McKenzies dismisal of 'wasn't's' in 'Requests For Deletion' arrogant and short-sighted. - Simon Patience

One hit in Google Print for a different sense (as the plural of wasn't: “It was so delightful to hear his dropped H’s, his wadden’s for wasn’t’s, his ruined diphthongs and flat vowels.” [2].)
Most of the web google hits, outside of the lyrics of the song mentioned, seem to be mysterious typos for 'wasn't', e.g. "It wasn't's so bad", "the insurgent's MO of blowing up civilians wasn't's a good political move.", "I wanted women to see that this wasn't's their fault." I don't know if the song in question falls under "well-known work", not having heard it myself, but if you can find any other legitimate cites of this word it will help your case greatly. —Muke Tever 06:13, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
I'd say this one's not idiomatic. What we should record is the use of "'s" as a sort of combination quotation mark and plural. This is productive (in the linguistic sense — have we recorded that?). I could talk about how someone pronounced his "I'd's", his "say's", his "this's" etc., etc. BTW, what's wrong with double contractions and other such combinations per se? I'd've thought there'd've been no problem. One of my favorites is y'all's (combination contraction and posessive). -dmh 02:49, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Heh. I do agree. For the record though, the admins reasserted the RFD and have already thrown wasn't's into the delete bin. —Muke Tever 04:41, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
On multiple contractions in general, it's worth noting that Google Print doesn't mean squat because these words would be used exclusively in speech anyway. A great example is the combination 'd've (would have) which is mentioned even in grammar books, obviously as informal. Davilla 13:23, 20 October 2005 (UTC)


Supposed to be a funny way of spelling dyslexia - well I suppose it is, but is it a dictionary word? SemperBlotto 12:17, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Delete. I think it’s intended to be a joke, nothing more. —Stephen 12:36, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Delete. It is funny but it's not part of the English lexicon. — Hippietrail 16:12, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Um, keep. Part of my English and I've heard it many times from people. Rarely means 'dyslexia' proper but generally refers to a similar lapse in someone's reading or writing. —Muke Tever 17:15, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Rewrote the article. Is it still rfd-worthy? —Muke Tever 17:47, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
The hard part about easy coinages like this is that they turn up over and over again as clear nonces. (E.g., "Dyslexia"? Shouldn't that be "lysdexia"? or Bit of finger trouble combined with acute "lysdexia".) I also saw at least one hit on alt.humor.puns. There are still quite a few bona fide usages, where the author just uses the term and expects it to be understood, but unfortunately many of these are the sort of thing that tends to get written off as unreliable or whatever. E.g.,
  • "Given the signature "drlibertarian" and just a touch of lysdexia, it is easy to see where the henceforth canonical McSpression 'Enchanted Forest of Dilbertaria' must have come from." (from an anon, and with an extra coinage thrown in)
  • So obviously you win the "my lysdexia is worser than your lysdexia" debate. and Either you are so thick you are unable to operate a spell checker, or you deliberately fuck it up in order to get sympathy for your lysdexia.(from a flamewar in alt.fan.scarecrow).
IMHO these will do in a pinch, but it would be nice to have better. I'll paste them in with attribution if it will help. -dmh 19:08, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Added two more cites, a new one that appeared in Google Print and one that showed up in an article title in the journal Reading Teacher (I couldn't get access to the article itself, tho...) —Muke Tever 18:38, 22 October 2005 (UTC)


Mooved from rfd. Eclecticology 17:18, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Video game characters. Eclecticology 17:27:43, 2005-07-24 (UTC)

  • Moogles aren't a character, they're a race, and has as much right to be here as, say, hobbit or wookiee, unless we are exercising some kind of special prejudice against videogames as opposed to books or movies. —Muke Tever 21:49, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Muke, that is what was most recently disputed about WT:CFI, yes. At any rate, http://print.google.com/ does seem to offer three citations for moogle but I'm not sure they are the same meaning. If it is as you assert, then that would be Moogle not moogle. --Connel MacKenzie 13:05, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
    • This is the same meaning (the other result I got off google print was a scanno for 'triangle'). At any rate, the better form would be moogle not Moogle — the book in question refers to Final Fantasy XI, whose software refers to all characters, NPCs, and items in capitalized form (Moogle, Giant Sheep, Bronze Sword, etc.). The instruction manual (dated 2003) calls them 'moogles' in lowercase: If you lease a Rent-a-Room in another country, a moogle will move any items stored in the Mog House in the country of your allegiance to the new Rent-a-Room. I'm not sure offhand but I'm pretty sure the other games as well used lowercase 'moogle' in contexts that allowed it. (And w:moogle does similarly.) As for CFI, I have known people with moogle fursonas personally, entirely outside the context of the video games. —Muke Tever 23:25, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Added a handful of cites, some relating to Final Fantasy games, and some not; two in print, one from a video game, and some off the web and Usenet. —Muke Tever 22:41, 23 October 2005 (UTC)


The article states there is a verb sense. I have never heard this. Is it restricted to some regions or dialects? It must be either slang or colloquial. Does anybody have any citations? — Hippietrail 17:21, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

I'd say colloquial. I tried "want to photo" and "to photo it" (in quotes) and turned up examples on the web, but not in print. -dmh 21:31, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Added a couple quotes found in GP (one from Cole Porter and one from Salman Rushdie, even). —Muke Tever 02:15, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

decimate (historical sense)[edit]

The "reduce by one in ten" sense is sometimes cited as the "correct" sense, but decimate does not seem to have been used in that sense for decades if not centuries. I would like to see some evidence that it has ever been used in this sense, in English (I have no doubt that the original Latin from which it is derived essentially meant "reduce by one in ten"). I wouldn't be surprised if it apears in some historical account, but if so, let's cite it explicitly.

One historical account of it is Webster's 1913 Dictionary. Unless you'd like to be revisionist about history, the rfv should be removed. If someone wants to add more direct citations, that is fine, but that is counter to the purpose of this rfv page. --Connel MacKenzie 15:30, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Did Webster 1913 cite an actual usage? What I see is:
  1. To take the tenth part of; to tithe. Johnson.
  2. To select by lot and punish with death every tenth man of; as, to decimate a regiment as a punishment for mutiny. Macaulay.
  3. To destroy a considerable part of; as, to decimate an army in battle; to decimate a people by disease.
None of these meets CFI. The "conveying meaning" clause is there for a reason. At the very least, we need to run down these usages. "Johnson" is most likely Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, itself a secondary source (but it might be form one of Samuel Johnson's other works, or from Ben Johnson, or Howard Johnson ...). Frankly, I don't know who Macaulay is, though evidently I'm supposed to know.
w:MacaulayMuke Tever 22:23, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm having a look at the hits from Project Gutenberg (there are 109). So far, they seem to be either the modern sense, or at best possibly an extension of the original Latin sense. E.g.,
  • "They decimate the population, in order that they may be feared." (could mean nearly wipe out, or could mean kill a portion to keep the rest in fear).
  • "Unless they come out and attack us we can decimate 'em." (from context, clearly means "wipe out")
  • "You wish to shed royal blood and to decimate the nobility of the kingdom, do you?" (see first item)
  • "... the despair and the moral destruction which decimate its youth?" (severely damage, nearly wipe out)
Clearly, none of these older usages (so far) supports the precise "select and punish with death every tenth man of" sense. The only question is whether they support "destroy most of" or "destroy a small part of to keep the rest in line". I'm sure even this will prove generous on further examination.
In any case we do not simply follow the lead of other dictionaries. This is where the whole nonsense of "kill every tenth" being "correct" even though usage is overwhelmingly at odds with this comes from in the first place. If we can turn up a citation for this exact sense, we note it as either rare (or extremely rare if that's not POV), or archaic if the only cites are old (whatever we choose to mean by "old"). Otherwise, we remove the definition, but leave a note about the enduring legend that the only supported senses are "incorrect" and encourage readers to submit any further evidence they can turn up.
Note that the original sense is (or at least should be) mentioned in the etymology in any case. -dmh 14:53, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Here's a particularly "incorrect" usage from PG: "Our men continued to decimate the enemy so thoroughly that they had scarcely five men on deck alive or unwounded." (The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 17 of 55 1609-1616, Blair and Robertson Eds.) -dmh 14:59, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Websters 1913 is not a secondary source. --Connel MacKenzie 15:12, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
OK, what do you mean by "primary source" and "secondary source"? -dmh 15:37, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Primary source being something we can cite directly, secondary source being something we cannot, obviously. --Connel MacKenzie 15:49, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
You might want to check, e.g., dictionary.com. A primary source is a firsthand account, a secondary source is after the fact. In our case, we're trying to verify usage. An actual usage is a primary source. A dictionary, which relies on actual usages, is a secondary source. -dmh 16:12, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

OK, here's a probable usage in the purported "correct" sense:

Piracy, beginning in honor, has ended in infamy: and at this moment it happens to be the sole offence against society in which _all_ the accomplices, without pity or intercession, let them be ever so numerous, are punished capitally. Elsewhere, we decimate, or even centesimate: here, we are all children of Rhadamanthus. — Thomas de Quincey, Theological Essays and Other Papers v1

Radamanthus (I had to look it up) is a Greek mythological known for inflexible integrity, and also as a judge of the dead, though the author seems to be extending him into a figure of indiscriminate harshness. From this, and from the surrounding context, I'd paraphrase the quoted text as:

Piracy was once honorable but is now dishonorable. Today, a pirate and all accomplices are sentenced to death, no matter how many there are. We are lenient with other crimes (we execute only a tenth, or even only a hundreth, of the culprits), but we deal with piracy as harshly as possible.

What makes this slightly problematic is that "decimate" and "centesimate [sic]" (arguably a nonce) are being used figuratively here. At least, I doubt that there was any crime at the time of the writing literally punished by killing 1/10 or 1/100 of the parties involved. On the other hand, the author clearly has in mind the idea that "decimate" means "kill one in ten." -dmh 15:37, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

This is not a good use of the rfv mechanism. It is borderline abusive. You know that if you google for "bible decimate" you are likely to find numerous examples; what agenda are you trying to push here? That rfv should be used for unreasonable "disputes about usages?" You aren't even disputing the usage itself, you are disputing the tag on a meanings line! --Connel MacKenzie 15:49, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
There's less here than meets the eye, I think. I'm trying to verify when and how (and intially even whether) anyone has actually used decimate in the sense given. I believe this is exactly what rfv-sense is meant for (Muke??). I'm quite well aware of what it meant in Latin (or at least, what all the etymologies say it meant in Latin, but I trust them). I'm quite well aware that various sources say that decimate means "kill one in ten". Neither of those is particularly helpful, though, in determining where it was actually so used in English.
Yeah, rfv-sense was meant for the verification of individual senses of a word... even though it was somewhat of an afterthought: I wanted to make an alternative to RFDing words nobody ever heard of, and it was suggested in IRC that a by-sense template would also be useful. In any case, I think RFVing the definition given was sensible; presumably it was meant to cover the Roman practice as well, but the extension to the broad case did seem nonexistent and thus rfv-worthy, nevermind that the phrasing is similar to that used by the pedant-pundits; I see little use in a verb meaning "to reduce to 90%," though it seems PJ Proudhon must have been pleased to use it. —Muke Tever 22:23, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
BTW If I google the phrase "bible decimate" in quotes, I get three hits, none of which uses decimate. If I google them separately, the first thing I get is

"And surely we must be willing to sacrifice our standard-of-living, decimate the poor and cause the extinction of vital plant and animal species and wildlife areas if it ensures the Presidency will be held, not by the person who received more than half a million more votes than his opponent, but by the born again Christian whom God has forgiven for his alcohol abuse, cocaine addiction, AWOL military status, purging of military records, drunk driving, encouragement of his teenage lover's abortion, etc."

A little further down, I see what you're probably referring to, namely the AHD piece I'm already well aware of, follwoed a bunch more hits using "decimate" in the more usual sense. I'm not particularly concerned that only 26% of the AHD panel likes the overwhelmingly common usage. Again, I'm looking for actual usage. -dmh 16:12, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
No, not in quotes. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=decimate+bible&btnG=Google+Search yields for example http://www.antelope-ebooks.com/RELIGIOUS/STORIES/moses16.html .
I think (my opinion, mind you) that being so frivolous, is well, frivolous. And counter-productive. --Connel MacKenzie 17:12, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm becoming more and more confused. There is a repeated claim that "decimate" really means "kill one in ten", and I've been trying to verify whether anyone has actually used it that way. That doesn't strike me as frivolous, at least not any more than the idea of having a bunch of total strangers collaboratively build a dictionary in their spare time. As it happens, usages in the "correct" sense are quite hard to find, at least when compared to the more usual sense. This is significant, as it suggests that the notion that the purportedly "correct" sense is correct is not based in usage, but has just been passed down from source to source undigested. As a new dictionary, we have a responsibility to do our own homework (if I may use that term) instead of blindly relying on other sources.
But what really confuses me is the link you gave. The only use of "decimate" I see there are:
  • I will decimate them all with a plague and of you, who believe and serve me, I will raise up a nation even greater and stronger than they are.
Are you suggesting this means "I will kill a randomly chosen one tenth of them all with a plauge in order to enforce discipline ...", or are you just pointing out that the usual sense of decimate is well attested? I'm not disputing the usual sense at all. I quite agree it's well-attested (outside computer graphics journals).
Perhaps you thought I meant "rfv" and not "rfv-sense"? I tried to make it clear which sense I was disputing. -dmh 18:53, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
You were disputing earlier the manner in which it was tagged. I do think it is frivolous to dispute the historic sense when the etymology so clearly describes the word formation to give the meaning you dispute. I did read that citatin as one-in-ten, but rereading it, that seems less likely.
On-line sources are inconclusive; is that your point? Clearly the word is attested as being used that way in the distant past. Is this some kind of a flat-Earth challenge you are raising? Any way you look at it, it still seems frivolous. --Connel MacKenzie 20:45, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I think we're reaching diminishing returns here. I honestly don't see what's bad, or even unusual about asking to verify usage, particularly if we're not sure if a sense is still current. It's just a request for verification. I don't think the existence of other sources talking about the etymology makes it frivolous. If anything, it makes it more important to give more detail than just "this dictionary says this is the origin." Knowing the origin doesn't answer who used a term in a given sense, how and when, and these are the interesting questions.
I'll admit I'm particularly interested in establishing facts when people are making arbitrary pronouncements about correctness, but in this case there's not much question which senses predominate in current usage. It's interesting that people almost universally think "reduce to one-tenth" instead of "reduce by one-tenth", but they do this regardless of when people have used the other sense.
Out of curiosity, what prompted you to put au fait here? That seems no more or less valid than trying to sort out which senses of decimate are attested where.
Ah yes, thank you for those quotations on au fait. Nice job of that too. I listed it as it was A) a completely unfamiliar term to me, B) valid in French, therefore not necessarily borrowed into English. --Connel MacKenzie 02:02, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Meanwhile, I see Muke has turned up impressive documentation for everything (out of curiosity, where did you look? Just a better google like decimate legion "one-tenth", or some secret herbs and spices?). A couple of nits: The Middle English dictionary is not a primary source, and in the last example of the historical sense, "He then declared that he would decimate Legio IX, but allowed himself to be ‘persuaded’ by the pleas of officers and men only to execute twelve of the 120 soldiers seen as ringleaders." it appears that killing 12 of 120 (1 in 10) is considered lenient compared to actually "decimating". Or maybe they pleaded to kill the ringleaders instead of drawing lots?
In all, the entry is much stronger now. I think quoting other style guides (with attribution, of course) is fine in usage notes, though I'm not sure I can articulate just why a usage note is different from a definition in this respect. I suppose it might be OK to quote another dictionary's definition, with attribution, in one of ours, but as far as I can tell we're trying to be an actual dictionary here, and not a digest of other dictionaries. -dmh 21:40, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I figured that the Middle English dictionary might be a borderline between primary and secondary source. It is not, after all, decimate that is being defined—but rather the Middle English expression don tithinge. As for Legio IX, it appears that instead of decimating the whole legion, he toned it down to decimating only the ringleaders, with the author here switching a numerical description instead of repeating the word 'decimate' (though it does end up a little confusing). —Muke Tever 21:56, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
As for the searches, yeah; one searches not just by one's terms but also terms that one would expect nearby; so, yeah, decimate with legion, decimate with tenth; "only decimate", after seeing it in one of the cites turned up (though that basically came up with a lot of "not only decimate but also..."). Also, there is searching with inflections, as decimate, decimates, decimated, decimating all come up with different sets of hits. —Muke Tever 22:23, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Yep. As in "a bit twee" and "is au fait". In any case, good stuff! -dmh 00:34, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
It looks as though the only sense that now still needs verification is the one relating to computers. I still have issues relating to the formatting of the article, but this is not the place for that subject. Eclecticology 07:40, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Added. Hmm ... the original article (by the Pixar guys before Toy Story, I think), clearly referred to a polygon mesh, but I think it's come to be used in the slightly more general sense I gave. E.g., I'm not sure the visualization quote I gave is referring to a polygon mesh in particular. Ditto for the Kim Lee quote. On the other hand, the other quote definitely is referring to a mesh. The first quote is using decimate attributively. I had kept that one because my initial search in GP for "decimate render model" only turned up four hits, of which only two were CG-related, one of which had it capitalized because it was the name of a command in a particular system. Switching to "decimate resolution model" turned up a bunch more, but I'm too lazy to put in another quote and take out the first one, just as I'm too lazy to pin down just exactly how generic the usage has become.
BTW, the dictionary quote I mentioned above looks fine now that I've read it more carefully. The word is being used to convey meaning, and not itself being defined. As a general rule, I would prefer more context around a term (e.g., in the Roman history examples, it's clear the context is Roman history, and in the CG examples, it's clear it's CG), but what we have will certainly do.
I agree that the format is cluttered. The other thing that bugs me a bit (with this and with other contested entries) is that the rare sense gets just as many quotes as the more common sense. Indeed, in other cases, only the disputed sense has any quotes at all. This could easily give the impression that the rare sense is vastly more common than it really is, which was pretty much my beef in the first place. -dmh 13:00, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Having re-thought this process, I'd like to retract my objection to "frivolous" rfvs. Any entry without three quotes can get rfv'd and we'd still be no worse off, and the term "frivolous" itself is too subjective. If every meaning of every entry got the same treatment, it would be a Good Thing (tm). I still honestly don't understand your justification for conflicting with other easily available dictionaries about the validity of the meaning. Appearance in other dictionaries for older senses may be our most reliable source for what historic meanings were; internet resources seem to be very inconsistent in this regard. But that is a separate topic, and probably should not encroach on rfv efforts in any way. --Connel MacKenzie 13:57, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Probably "dispute" was a poor choice of words. I used it because the rfv-sense template had read "disputed" (which wasn't bad, but I like the new reading better). I didn't think that the other dictionaries were wrong, per se. I just wanted to get a more detailed picture of what was really going on. Are we talking about a situation like honorificabilitudinitatibus or antidisestablishmentarianism, where older cruft is being kept alive mainly for the sake of keeping it alive, or is the usage still live? If it's live, is it only current in accounts of Roman history, or is there evidence of people using that sense in other contexts?
This bears directly on how we handle the usage note. If it had been easy to find usages of decimate meaning "reduce by one-tenth" and not referring to Roman legions, I would reconsider the current wording. More importantly, we now have a direct answer to the next person who comes in and "corrects" the usage note. Without actually doing the legwork, all we can do is pull in other people's opinions.
Or shall we go and "correct" the entries for menu (now there's a puzzle: we use menu to mean carte and prix fixe to mean menu, more or less) and focus? -dmh 14:47, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
It's misleading to think of one or the other of the two principal uses of this word as not "correct". I prefer to think of them as "strict" and "loose" while pointing out that "reducing to one tenth" is based on a misunderstanding. One thing that determines whether a word is still "live" is the actual dated quotes; the inability of anyone to find any modern quotes speaks for itself. For "decimate" the older stricter definition continues to be valid, but it is difficult to establish a context where that meaning would ber clear. I'm inclined to remove the first paragraph of the usage note. Eclecticology 16:49, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I disagree that "reduce by one-tenth" is a principal use. It's exceedingly rare, apparently nearly nonexistent outside the specialized context of Roman historical accounts. Evidently, it has been exceedingly rare for quite a long time. The only thing it has going for it is etymology. I would want not only to avoid giving the impression that it is a principal use, but specifically point out that it's exceedingly rare. I'm fine with pointing out that the principal use is at odds with etymology (if indeed it is ... are we really sure that the Latin form was not itself ambigious?), but this is just another interesting philological tidbit. -dmh 21:58, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Also (since I was in a bit of a hurry when I wrote that last part), I wanted to be clear what I think the issues are. Unfortunately, there are a lot of little points to be made here, but we may be in closer agreement than we think on the overall result:
  • Leaving aside the CG sense (which I think draws more on the "reduce by one-tenth" sense than "reduce to one-tenth", FWIW), there appear to be two classes of senses: Ones involving reduction by one-tenth, and ones involving reduction to one-tenth (or by a similarly drastic amount).
  • The "by" sense has a well-documented antecedent in Latin, namely in disciplining Roman legions.
  • The "to" sense may or may not have antecedents in Latin (interestingly, Larousse's has French décimer as "deplete" (or "decimate", of course), and wordreference.com has Italian "decimare" as "decimate (eliminate)". It seems entirely possible that the modern Romance languages suffer from the same "misconception" as English. This is suggestive, but ...)
  • ... perhaps someone more Latin-savvy can tell us whether there is a general pattern of forming such words from numbers. E.g., would (modulo my poor command of Latin inflection) something like "tercimare" mean "reduce by one-third", "reduce to one-third" or either, depending on context? It would be particularly interesting to compare Classical Latin and Late Latin.
  • This pattern does not seem to be very productive. Besides decimare, the only numeral verb in the 1-10 range thus formed is tertiare which means "do a third time". (There is also secundare, but that one's meaning more follows on secundus literal meaning of ‘follow.’) However on the upward scale it looks like it works on the model of decimare: centesimare (English centesimate) means to punish one in every hundred, and presumably *millesimate would mean punish one in every thousand, had the Roman legions been large enough to make such punishment meaningful. —Muke Tever 20:49, 23 October 2005 (UTC)
  • People occasionally but persistently complain that the "by" sense is the only correct sense, based on the Roman legion sense in Latin.
  • There is no real basis for this claim. Words shift from their original derivations all the time.
  • The "to" sense is used almost exclusively and in practically any context.
  • The "by" sense is used very rarely, and is even more rare outside the specialized context of Roman military history.
In my experience, this is not a particularly complex example when it comes to histories of word use. This is one reason why I tend to balk so strongly at simple declarations that one particular sense or construct is "correct", particularly when they are backed by an argument from etymology (as here) or by an appeal to technical usage (as with tidal wave). These almost invariably break down on rigorous examination. Offhand, I can't think of a case that's held up. -dmh 14:17, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
... and meanwhile, back at the plotline, I agree that it's difficult to establish a context in which the "by" definition would be clear. I think the question over the first paragraph of the usage note comes down to whether we should be silent about the claim that the uses other than "by" are incorrect, or whether we should mention them specifically. In any case we should talk about the relative prevalences and in no case should we ourselves assert that the other senses are incorrect. As a practical matter, it's probably best to mention the issue explicitly. Otherwise, we're liable to have the entry "corrected" by someone who thinks we just didn't know that "by" was the only correct sense. A similar issue has come up with hacker, where, much to my dislike, the "computer vandal" usage has far overwhelmed the earlier "one with an intense interest in technology" sense. -dmh 17:15, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
Can we simply remove these indications that there is a "correct" or "incorrect" sense. Who is making these claims? If no-one is making them then it is a strw man since the only reason for raising it is to knock it down. Eclecticology 00:58, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this is one of those Prescriptions That Will Not Die. If you recall the history of the page, there has been a bit of back-and-forth about the word. Indeed, the original text of the article was:

To reduce by one in ten, or ten percent. It originally referred to the killing of every tenth Roman legionnaire in a mutinous or poorly-performing legion. Decimus, tenth, from decem, ten. Today, it is often mis-used in terms of scale to describe the destruction of a large part of, eg: a part greater than a tenth. Also mis-used in terms of context, as in the school funds were decimated by the principal's profligacy. tr.v. Decimates, decimating, decimated. Fr. decimare

Here's an example from Google print:

Stockholders were not impressed, and they spoke up at the annual meeting. "These are our hard-earned dollars that we trusted to you, and you have decimated us," said one. (He'd done worse than that. "Decimate" means reducing [sic; perhaps he means "reduce"?] something by one tenth. The stock was off much more than that) — William G Flanagan in Dirty Rotten Ceos: How Business Leaders Are Fleecing America ISBN 0806525215, p. 161

Most grammar/style guides tend to be much more even-handed, pointing out the historical sense and gently resisting further change in meaning (e.g., don't say "totally decimate" or "decimate by one-third"). We're in a slightly different position here in that, in contrst to published style guides, we actively invite people to come in and correct errors. My feeling is that if we say nothing, well-meaning souls will repeatedly "correct" the entry, making more work for us. On the other hand, I can understand not wanting to magnify what's essentially a non-issue to all but a small number of pedants (like us :-). I will say that having quotes to back up each sense may help here. It's harder to assert "... by one-tenth is correct" under the assumption that we just don't know better when the quotations are right there on the page.
It's all case-by-case, though. In a case like hacker, there is a similar tension, but the group that prefers the historically correct sense is very much alive (it includes me, for example). That is, there are active hackers (in the original sense) who don't appreciate the term being used to describe script kiddies. I doubt there are any active centurions who take offense at the prevalent English usage of "decimate". -dmh 19:44, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Olympic diving[edit]

[Added to rfv 19 October.]

Besides cites we may also have to prove that it merits a headword outside of Olympic and diving. —Muke Tever 18:30, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Given that the relevant governing bodies define very specific events and rules for olympic events, I would think that olypmic anything would merit an entry. E.g., an olympic swimming pool has particular dimensions, and olympic basketball has different rules from NCAA basketball and NBA basketball (not that that excuses the latest US performance)
As to attestation, I suppose it would be nice to pick a few quotes at random. There are only dozens of print hits and tens of thousands of web hits. (I'm not being facetious. I'm comfortable with those numbers, but I think the "no doubt at all" threshold is a couple of orders of magnitude higher) -dmh 21:27, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Eerily I'm not much finding it. "Olympic diving" is usually followed by a noun, e.g. "Olympic diving champion", which doesn't ring any different than Olympic champion + diving champion. (One cite even specifically separates it thus, with Olympic diving-tower thus hyphenated.) Found a cite for "Olympic diving" again in a separate sense: ...compared his feelings about acting to Greg Louganis’s 1990 Olympic diving. ... Ah, there we go. Found and added some quotes. (As for unity: one opposes it to NASCAR; another actually hyphenates it in attributive use...) —Muke Tever 02:04, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Nothing eery here. Olympic is simply an adject and is being used as such. It's not being used to make many new English lexeme. There may be some, I wouldn't rule it out. In fact could it even be that Olympic is a registered trademark which is enforced as an adjective? As for different rules from different governing bodies of different sports, what on earth is lexical about any of that? That stuff belongs in Wikipedia. — Hippietrail 14:46, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the existence of Olympic and diving used as modifiers together doesn't discount the existence of Olympic diving as a single term. Olympic doesn't seem to be a trademark. (I don't think it could even be trademarkable, given that it was a common word before the games were revived.) Anyway, sometimes these things do become lexical; for example, either an Olympic pool is to be defined as "a swimming pool measuring 25m × 50 m", or Olympic gets a sense "(applied to swimming pools) measuring 25m × 50m"... —Muke Tever 17:43, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
The first two quotes are particularly good in that they point out a well-known but non-obvious feature of Olypmic diving: judging based on degree of difficulty as well as quality of performance. Yes, this is glossed, but the device only works because the writer can assume common knowledge of this aspect of Olympic diving. -dmh 14:45, 28 October 2005 (UTC)


Moved from rfd. Eclecticology 08:04, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Only nominated because I have never heard of it - is it genuine? — Paul G 11:57, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

  • You requested a word to be deleted because you've never heard of it? Try something like Project:Requests for further citations. FWIW, I found a citation of the word in apparently this sense: [3]. It's also in the American Heritage Dictionary. —Muke Tever 18:57, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Indeed, there's a whole bullet point (2.5, I think) on just this in Wiktionary:Page deletion guidelines.
    • It looks to me, like Paul did exactly what those guidelines suggest: instead of just deleting it outright, he (correctly) nominated it here and garnered discussion. Thank you Paul; well done. --Connel MacKenzie 07:02, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
    • Um, did he do the requisite minimal search first? -dmh 05:02, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
    • Re-reading and amplifying: The idea behind those guidelines was to try to get people to do a certain amount of investigation before placing a term on RFD. RFD should mean "I looked, and found reason to believe a term shouldn't be here." RFV mitigates this to a large extent, but even then, one shouldn't place a term on RFV if verification is easy to dig up. -dmh 21:22, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
  • The quote is fine! I find it incomprehensible why people can't just put the quote properly on the page for the word. Eclecticology 08:15:57, 2005-09-07 (UTC)

Added some quotes properly on the page for the word :p —Muke Tever 05:59, 28 October 2005 (UTC)


Google hits suggest it is primarily the name of a website, but may have less popular independent usages. Could also use cleanup/wikification (and possibly a move to lower case). —Muke Tever 20:03, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Checked all the google hits, all are references to the name of the blog contentology.com. Nothing in usenet or Google Print. There probably won't be much hope for this one. —Muke Tever 05:20, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 05:42, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


Google does not seem to support this meaning? --Connel MacKenzie 21:03, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Whether it is anywhere else, it appears to be in the vocabulary of w:Kevin Smith; in a blog posting on his site and in a collection of posts apparently also by him, here glossed as 'lounge wear'. Does it appear in any of his well-known productions? —Muke Tever 05:58, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 05:50, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


[Added to rfv on October 8 by User:Tschroeder, who posted the original entry.]

Discussion from rfd:

This article had "rfd" added a little while ago by someone else. There are 28 hits on Google, some of which are used in the way defined. The definition could use a little work though. SemperBlotto 21:33, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
Delete. Still zero English print citations. As humorous as this nonce is, the single "Quotation" provided is from a blog archive. Perhaps the {rfd} was removed by someone who couldn't understand the joke is a nonce? --Connel MacKenzie 22:18, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
Delete; 17 results on Yahoo, mostly related to a particular blog. Protologism. Citizen Premier 03:39, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Um, "mostly related to a particular blog" is not the same as "solely related to a particular blog", and neither necessarily makes the term a protologism. A protologism is defined before its use. A coinage is generally either defined with its early usages, or used in such a way that it is clear from context. -dmh 15:21, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 05:59, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


[Added to rfv 8 October by User:Connel MacKenzie.]

I don't have much hope for this one either, but then I havnt looked yet. —Muke Tever 05:31, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

I found (and added) a quote online from w:Paul Bowles, indicating it's a foreign word, used in Tangier, which suggests it's probably either Berber or (regional?) Arabic in origin. Still wanna look more into this. —Muke Tever 02:51, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 06:06, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


Verb sense does not ring true for me. As a nonce, perhaps? --Connel MacKenzie 05:44, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

As in "Please minute this so we don't lose track of it?" from the chairman to the minute-taker? I hear that all the time. This is an interesting one, since it's probably much more prevalent in spoken form than in written form. I'll see what comes up when I get a chance. -dmh 13:22, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that verb usage is real, but not too common outside the civil service and the like. SemperBlotto|Talk 16:06, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
Added some cites. The use seems more broad than just writing in minutes... it seems like it means to note in any sort of office correspondence. I took the liberty of extending the definition some, it may still need attention. —Muke Tever 01:02, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
OK, thanks. What is the process for clearing these off this list? The rfv has already been removed from the entry, does this section just get whacked now? --Connel MacKenzie T + C # 19:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
It should say this around the top of the page somewhere: I have been ... whacking the discussions one week after the rfv discussion dies down, mainly to allow time for the quotations themselves to be disputed; this hasn't happened yet, but it is easy to imagine: someone might put forth a quotation in support of one sense of a word, but may be mistaken in their interpretation of the quote—say, if I were to quote the gay old time referred to in the Flintstones theme song to support gay's sense of "homosexual"—someone may wish to argue otherwise, that my position is invalid. (That's an easy example. A rougher case would be like that of decimate: if the word is used by itself, with no sense of great or small scale, it can be difficult to say whether the author means it to refer to reducing to 10% or by 10%, which made finding decent quotes somewhat hard...) —Muke Tever 09:06, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

brain farm[edit]

I can't find many sources for this; looks like it may be something out of Sailor Moon; I'd like to see some good sources. Citizen Premier 21:33, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Added cites. (Yes, one of them was out of Sailor Moon, but not the oldest one.)—Muke Tever 15:42, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

brivla and cmene[edit]

These two words are Lojban parts of speech. However, they also purport to be English - and I have not been able to find them in any English dictionary (printed or online). I propose to remove the ==English== section. SemperBlotto|Talk 10:19, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

brivla — Added cites. One from the published Lojban grammar, and two from documentation of Lojban-parsing software. Really I think these words are rather important to have, as the Lojbanists use them pretty much to the exclusion of ordinary terms, leading to otherwise illegible sentences such as "A selbri can be also a tanru, which is a metaphor, built with a set of brivla." [4] Will see to cmene next. —Muke Tever 16:09, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
cmene — Cites added. Two from Lojban grammars, one from a description of a Lojban Scrabble application. —Muke Tever 16:38, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
(I should disclaim here that outside of Cowan's book(s), much of the Lojban phenomenon doesn't appear to have made it into print, so these are web hits.) —Muke Tever 16:42, 2 November 2005 (UTC)


Moved from rfd. Eclecticology 16:43, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Hunted up a few quotations out of GP. I couldn't find any of the sense being disputed (a verb, meaning to cough up a hairball) but there were several of it as an interjection (repeated up to three times) representing making the sound of this action, and a couple hits for a verb meaning to make a similar noise. So I added some senses as supported by the quotations, even though I didn't find evidence for the disputed sense. —Muke Tever 21:23, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
There also seems to be a poker sense, roughly "to fold a winning hand", and a couple of senses of "gacked out" (grossed out, and something like out of one's mind on drugs). I haven't taken time to chase these down, but as long as the article itself is in, this can wait. -dmh 14:34, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

[The sense disputed failed RFV. But other information was found, so the page remains.] 15:20, 12 November 2005 (UTC)


[rfv'ed 22 October]

Anyone from the Society for the Strengthening of Verbs around? —Muke Tever 19:24, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Found this one already had cites added to it by the original poster (and they all seem to check out, though they're all web hits). Added one from 1870 found in Project Gutenberg. I saw it widely asserted on the web that this poem was composed by Phoebe Cary but I would like to see that verified or falsified as well—the timespan is about right but the name is not so given; a later issue of the publication, having seen it published in another periodical, takes a moment to insist that it was written for them, so either somebody's claim is spurious, or the poem was published pseudonymously... Perhaps Stephen Pinker, who, quoting this poem, is responsible for most of the GP hits for this sense of the word, would know. —Muke Tever 08:04, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

wif and wid[edit]

[rfv'ed 24 October]

Shouldn't be too hard... both of these are pretty common. Tho they should be marked as informal nevermind, they're already marked as informal. —Muke Tever 19:30, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

(re: wif) I'm not sure "informal" is quite right. Leaving aside the Middle English quotes, the spelling seems to occur mainly in two modern contexts:
  • Renderings of various regional American dialects in historical accounts, particularly slaves and Western pioneers.
  • Renderings of modern AAVE (hrm ... that cluster of definitions could use a bit of cleanup).
I'm not saying that people never write "wif" for "with" when they mean to be informal, but it doesn't seem to be the most common usage of this spelling. Whether people say "wif" is just a matter of accent/dialect.
At any rate, I added three modern quotes for modern usage. Quotes for historical renderings are actually easier to find in print, but I haven't put any up because I'm not quite sure how to notate all this. -dmh 15:17, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
(re: wid) Cites added. Also, changed the usage tag from 'informal' to 'informal or dialectal'. That may be doable on wif as well. —Muke Tever 07:58, 6 November 2005 (UTC)


Supposed to mean "of the eyelash" SemperBlotto|Talk 12:26, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

  • No language given. It's certainly an eyelash in French. Eclecticology 02:24, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

chode (shorter than wide vulgar sense)[edit]

This keeps getting added, but I haven't yet seen any evidence to back it up, either from the contributor, or in my own searching for uses of chode/choad/choda. There's good evidence for other vulgar uses, but not for this one. My guess is it's an UrbanDictionary-style protologism, but if someone can make a reasonable case that it's caught on generally, then it should go in. -dmh 17:48, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

2004, Sterling Johnson, Watch your F*cking Language: [5]
This is fatter than a chubby. This dick is almost wider than it is long. It's a term favored by artist S. Clay Wilson, chronicler of gay pirate life.
Only one in this sense in Google Print, and it's a dictionary [of sorts]. Of course now there's seeing if w:S. Clay Wilson indeed so uses the word, or if that's just a connotation the author of the book picked up. —Muke Tever 19:32, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Interesting. So it's not entirely made up from whole cloth (or if it is, at least we know who made it up :-). I think it's also important to see some evidence that someone besides S. Clay Wilson actually uses the term in that sense. This goes directly to the "would someone run across it and want to know what it means" test. If it's only so used in one artist's works, we would at least need to note this in the entry, and it might well be better to leave it out entirely. -dmh 14:23, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
FWIW, while looking for something else, I found this lovely couplet:
Driving down the road just itching my chode
When all of a sudden I want to bust a load
In a page of song/rap lyrics (you may have to adjust the colors to be able to read it). This attests to "chode", but says nothing about dimensions. -dmh 16:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Heh. My guess is that somewhere along the line someone took a connotation of the word and mistook it for part of the denotation. —Muke Tever 05:22, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I've used this word for over a year in the wider than it is bigger sense, it gets in in my book --Wonderfool 14:58, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Can you provide cites for this specific meaning (i.e., indicating not just 'penis' generally)? If not it'll have to be thrown out in a week. —Muke Tever 06:11, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 04:13, 15 November 2005 (UTC)


[rfv'ed 30 October]

RFV appears to be for the assertion that it's an alternative spelling of forebear. —Muke Tever 04:25, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, it's in Webster 1913 [6]. But, Webster's only quote is marked as Scots, which it is (Dictionary of the Scots Tongue: forbear, forebear, foirbear). However there are several hits in PG and GP—adding them now. —Muke Tever 06:32, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


I'm moving this from RFD. There's actually good evidence that this is a borrowing from one or more Indic languages, but it would be nice to have more details from native speakers. If that doesn't show up before the deadline grows imminent, I'll probably just pick three citations at random to keep the wolves at bay. -dmh 17:46, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Deadline being imminent, still no ghits for this spelling. —Muke Tever 23:34, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
(no GP hits, I mean.) ... —Muke Tever 04:07, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 07:06, 16 November 2005 (UTC)


[Added to rfv by User:Connel MacKenzie 16 October.]
Comments from rfd page
Looks like a deliberate misspelling of "cruising", as in "you're cruising for a bruising" (= I'll hit you if you don't desist), imitating the pronunciation. The definitions are very slangy too. — Paul G 11:36, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Keep. It is tagged as a regional variant. (Should also have US added.) --Connel MacKenzie 14:19, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Kept. I've cleaned up the slangy definitions. I'll add (US, Ireland) to show it is a regionalism. — Paul G 09:09, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Delete. It's merely one of many possible misspellings to imitate speech. No evidence of this spelling. Eclecticology 07:00:46, 2005-09-07 (UTC)
  • One wonders if Cruzin magazine would be considered a well-known work. -dmh 18:26, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Admits to being deliberately misspelled in origin... though I havnt personally come across this particular misspelling of the word. [havnt looked yet tho.] —Muke Tever 00:02, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

IIRC, this has been up for debate before and passed as the more common of slang words, if that adds anything to the discussion. Davilla 13:35, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

That the word is common slang, I doubt anyone disputes; even I'm aware of it. The spelling is what is unusual. I found one cite in google print. —Muke Tever 19:19, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Um, how do you get only one from http://print.google.com/print?q=cruzin&btnG=Google+Search ? --Connel MacKenzie 22:30, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I meant one cite a) in this sense [the neuraminidase inhibitor sense not having been disputed] and b) not a proper noun [proper nouns often having their spelling mangled to allow being trademarked]. —Muke Tever 06:33, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 07:14, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

lingua Franca[edit]

Some senses (those given also in English) are given as Latin. While that may be the obvious choice to anyone who would write about the particular language in Latin, I would like to see evidence that it was the term (it may well have been something different); and I would like to see any evidence for the generic, pluralizable use in Latin. [This is leaving aside for the moment that the entire Latin entry belongs at lingua Francalingua franca is capitalized that way because it is in origin an Italian term, and that's how Italians capitalize such things...] —Muke Tever 05:01, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 21:45, 19 November 2005 (UTC)


The form frenemy has been attested, but this alternative spelling seems to be entirely speculative. Eclecticology 18:16, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Found and added two [but only two] cites in Google Print. —Muke Tever 01:02, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed RFV.] 02:08, 20 November 2005 (UTC)


Can anyone verify the Etymology? Supposed to be "I don't understand what you mean". SemperBlotto|Talk 16:10, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Spooky. I just made notes about this in the past couple of days. I'm currently reading The History of the Conquest of Mexico by William H Prescott. In book 2, chapter 1 it says this:
An hidalgo of Cuba, named Hernandez de Cordova, sailed with three vessels on an expedition to one of the neighbouring Bahama Islands, in quest of Indian slaves. (February 8, 1517.) He encountered a succession of heavy gales which drove him far out of his course, and at the end of three weeks he found himself on a strange but unknown coast. On landing and asking the name of the country, he was answered by the natives, "Tectetan," meaning, "I do not understand you,"- but which the Spaniards, misinterpreting into the name of the place, easily corrupted into Yucatan. Some writers give a different etymology. Such mistakes, however, were not uncommon with the early discoverers, and have been the origin of many a name on the American continent.
This is followed up by footnote #9:
9. Gomara, Historia de las Indias, cap. 52, ap. Barcia, tom. II. Bernal Diaz says the word came from the vegetable yuca, and tale the name for a hillock in which it is planted. (Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 6.) M. Waldeck finds a much more plausi­ble derivation in the Indian word Ouyouckatan, "listen to what they say." Voyage Pittoresque, p. 25.
This book was written 150 years ago so there's a good chance better etymological work has been done since. — Hippietrail 17:30, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
I added to the etymology. I don't know whether what the "true" etymon may yet be discoverable, so I left the old one in, but added a different Nahuatl etymology I found. —Muke Tever 01:15, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I've heard similar stories in general. In one case, a field linguist knew how to say "what is this?" but was surprised that he got the same word for everything he pointed to. The word was for "finger" — the people he was studying pointed by pursing their lips and looking at the object in question. Now, on the one hand, this was told by George Lakoff in a talk I attended, so I tend to believe it (modulo lapses in my own memory). But on the other hand, these sorts of things have more than a whiff of urban legend about them.
In the case of "Yucatán", it shouldn't be hard for someone (but not me :-) to verify whether "Tectetan" actually means "I don't understand you" in some appropriate language. Personally, I'm skeptical of this one. Initial t is perfectly ordinary in Spanish, and doesn't become a 'y' in any Spanish dialect I'm aware of, so it's a bit hard (though not entirely impossible) to see something transcribed as 't' becoming a 'y'. But stranger things have happened.
I do recall a case of some strange sighting in Lakota territory being referred to in a news item as being called "taku he" ("he" pronounced "hey"), which means "what is it?", but this is perfectly understandable because no one knew what it was.
Etymologies are notoriously hard to do well. There has been a lot of excellent work in the area, much of it (I believe) in the 19th century, but there is also a lot of blatant bullshit. E.g., it is said that Napoleon, on encountering a certain heavy dark brown German bread, said "c'est pain pour Nicole" (referring to his horse, Nicole), and this was garbled into English pumpernickel. Sounds sort of plausible, maybe, but it was made up on the spot by a columnist up against a deadline.
I'm really not sure what the best way is for Wiktionary to handle etyomologies. For new coinages, we should by all means report what we know. What's obvious now might not be obvious 20 years from now, particularly if a reference to popular culture is involved. In the case of fairly obvious origins, e.g., imports from Latin and Greek, particularly in scientific parlance, it's probably OK just to show the breakdown without further proof (e.g., centimeter as centi- (SI prefix for hundredth, from Latin centum), meter (Latin whatever it is exactly) seems fine. For more involved cases, I'm less sure. Do we quote other dictionaries? This seems dangerously close to copyvio, just as cribbing a definition would be. We can refer to out-of-copyright sources, and maybe we should in this case. Realistically, it will be hard to replicate the research behind such etymologies, and some etymology is better than none. But in this case we should make it very clear that we're quoting.
That's not to say we can't do research on our own. After digging for a while, I finally figured out that the common thread between Nerf ball and nerf bar was the verb nerf, meaning "to bump lightly". The entries could do with a bit of tightening, but it's non-obvious to someone who's not familiar with the verb. The work Hippietrail's spearheaded on tidal wave also comes to mind. But these are the exceptions. Most entries with non-trivial etymologies will either have to have no etymology (as is the case now), or etymologies quoted from sources out of copyright.
When I was looking it up I found that someone had confirmed the word that sounded more like Yucatan did mean 'hear them talk' in Mayan (though I would be much more inclined to trust such a theory if I saw it in anything like a standard orthography); I didn't find any actual evidence for the Tectetan word except that it seems to be one of the most common etyma given.
In any case, in the case of some words—perhaps most—the etymology is clear-cut and straightforward; however there are a lot of words for which either evidence is wanting or ambiguous. In the interests of NPOV, in such cases it may be better to note the most popular and the most plausible sources, giving references where they are cited or proposed (or debunked). As for copyvio, verbatim copying is of course wrong, but as most etymologies are a bare recital of facts with no real creative input I wouldn't expect them to be subject to copyright: nobody owns the fact that meter derives from Latin metrum. (I suppose under US rules it goes under "Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship"). Where an etymology is ... creatively stated, we infringe nothing by restating it in simple terms (and perhaps for good measure citing the source). —Muke Tever 05:40, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Is the way it currently stands enough to remove the RFV? —Muke Tever 07:18, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

à toute allure[edit]

This means "at full pelt", "at top speed", as indicated on the page, but I am questioning the interjection. If this is valid, it is a pun, but I have never heard it. — Paul G 10:31, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

  • I'm not familiar with "at full pelt". Is this a Britticism? The interjection sense seems to intend "See you later!". The "s" on "later" suggests that this person is not a native English speaker. That he has mixed up "à tout à l'heure" and "à toute allure" suggests that he is also not a native French speaker. I'll remove the mixed in expression, and see if I can find references for the relevant one. Eclecticology 20:15, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Um... "laters" is a rather common farewell (I have two hundred uses in my IRC logs). —Muke Tever 04:37, 31 October 2005 (UTC)


[Added to rfv 21 October.]

Looks like a personal attack, but who knows? —Muke Tever 17:49, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Not in UrbanDictionary in this context. - h2g2bob 26/10/05 22:45 GMT
Gosh, if it's not even in UD I don't see much hope for it. —Muke Tever 09:18, 1 November 2005 (UTC)



Somefur added a lot of sexual cat-person senses on the model of yiff. I've never heard of these meanings, either online or in conversation with any feline, for the past ten years. —Muke Tever 04:57, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Also, Japanese ニャア (spelled by them as にゃあ) was given alongside it — if the senses belong to ニャア and not mew, they should be on ニャア, not mew. —Muke Tever 04:58, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

[Failed rfv.] 21:17, 26 November 2005 (UTC)


User:Connel MacKenzie added this entry, possibly due to the fact it's a made up word, and not in common usage. As [New York Times] and dictioary.com verify (as well as Wikipedia), it is a word added to the New Oxford American Dictionary to prevent the dictionary being copied. I suggest the word is included because it's an interesting word, and inclusion will help to prevent the word being used incorrectly. —h2g2bob 13:24 26/10/05

This is one reason why we don't rely on other secondary sources. The question, as always, is whether anyone actually uses the term in that sense (or any other).
  • Google print: Nada
  • Google groups: Two hits, both saying it's a fake word.
  • Google web: 641 hits. From the first few pages, almost all seem to be "it's a fake word". One tries to use it ("A dubious plot of esquivalience intent. [sic]") and then goes on to explain it's a fake word. Under the "would someone run across it and want to know what it means", this is dubious at best (hmm ... last I looked there was an example for "jib" in CFI, which probably should be cited as not counting). If anyone wants to go through the rest of these and try to find legitimate cites, they're welcome to it.
The interesting question is, supposing that it's only mentioned and not used, do we still give it an entry? It seems useful to note, in the same way we note common mispellings and such. Maybe we should just reformat the article to be a note without a definition? -dmh 19:55, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
See also dord. — Hippietrail 02:15, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, the article is (probably) wrong. It says that "dord" means a mistake made by Websters, but I doubt anyone uses it to mean that. I'd move for reformatting entries like this. Not sure exactly how, though. -dmh 02:48, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
These entries seem to have entries in wikipedia, which is where they should be I suppose. We could have a brief note saying it's not a real word, and have a link to wikipedia for those who are interested.
It might be worth noting that it looks like any time these words are actually used, it is explained what it means in the text. In that sense, a dictionary definition is not really needed, but it seems a shame if we lost these words. - h2g2bob

[Failed RFV.] 21:27, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

liberal, conservative, dialect (various senses)[edit]

To anticipate Connel's response, I'm not placing these here because I think any particular definition should necessarily be removed, but because I'm more and more convinced that in potentially contentious cases, the best way to stand on firmer ground is to offer up actual quotations. This is also what I was after with decimate, if I didn't make that clear already.

To this end, I would like to request verifications (and will of course try to provide a few as well), but I would also like to request that we waive the time limit in this and similar cases, where there is little doubt as to the big picture, but more data is (yeah, that's right, is) needed to pin down the details. If this is not a good forum for that, I'm happy to move the discussion elsewhere, but I do believe that it's worthwhile to call attention to terms like these and give them higher priority than most of the population (e.g., I don't see a pressing need to show quotations supporting the usual sense of sing)

(While I'm here ... I think what's really going on with "data" and "media" and such being used with "is", is that such forms tend to be re-analyzed as uncountable, and not, as language mavens complain, that they are being mistaken for singular. One very seldom hears "a data" or "a media" as noun phrases. One generally hears constructions like "more data is needed" or "the media is biased", both of which are perfectly good constructions for uncountable nouns). -dmh 16:59, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

(Of course: 'data' at least just became synonymous with information, which went uncountable a long time ago. Incidentally I don't see much problem with an "rfv without prejudice".) —Muke Tever 20:04, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Your nomination is unclear. I'd prefer a separate forum for "things that need print.google citations but are actually fine and not disputed at all" as I think this is a misuse of this particular mechanism. Was that the response you were trying to preclude? I think the Tea Room is a better place for that sort of cleanup request. --Connel MacKenzie T + C # 20:06, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Cubicle Standard[edit]

Can anyone second this? Needs de-capitalization anyway. SemperBlotto|Talk 21:59, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

No GP hits, and all regular Google hits talk merely about what is standard for cubicles ("I wanted to develop a career outside the nine to five cubicle standard"). Even the entry's own example doesn't use the phrase, indicating this topic—if it exists, which it well may—is an encyclopedic description of a practice seen, not a dictionary definition of a term in use. —Muke Tever 06:24, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


I initially tagged as rfd for unlikely Hollywood spelling; external sources seem to indicate this may be a valid term, but this definition does not seem to match those web hits. --Connel MacKenzie T + C # 23:42, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

It's not a term limited to film (though the original poster may have thought so) ... expanded the qualifier to the arts generally, formatted it up some, and added cites. —Muke Tever 00:36, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

George W[edit]

[rfv'ed 31 October]

Supposed to mean a bus ? ... —Muke Tever 07:58, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Not finding any hits.... But then, there's a lot of noise to sift through. The closest I've found is that occasionally the steamer George W. Elder was called this. —Muke Tever 00:48, 10 November 2005 (UTC)